6G Wireless. It Will Work! Introducing The 6G Report
I'm Dave Burstein, with the microphone at right. I'm starting The 6G Report because the race is on. March, 2018, China's Minister Miao Wei asserted, "We will be first in 6G." We'll hear similar from other countries.
Problem: No one knows what 6G will be. (That doesn't stop the politicians.) A good working definition is "Important wireless advances that weren't ready for 5G."
6G, 5G, & 4G are nearly meaningless marketing terms. Wireless improvements are coming at a ferocious rate. As I write in 2018, "5G" networks are building and soon will be ready for customers. Many of them will be slower than some 4G networks that are incorporating the latest.
Tools for the next generation of wireless are working in labs around the world. Hundreds of papers have been written on Distributed MIMO/"Cell free" alone. Frequencies from 60 GHz to over 100 GHz are in lab trials. Dynamic sharing of spectrum now works, and can extend to all the licensed frequencies as well as the Wi-Fi bands.Getting closer to the truth is always my goal. Email me if I make a mistake or to share an opinion. I'll thank you. firstname.lastname@example.org
- Published: 24 March 2018 24 March 2018
No. CEO Tom Rutledge goes too far claiming "Using unlicensed and licensed Spectrum working together" as a definition of 6G. T-Mobile did that years ago, and BT and many other Europeans have long treated Wi-Fi as part of their network. LAA, taking over Wi-Fi spectrum for LTE, is one of the pillars of 3GPP Rel. 15.
- Published: 23 March 2018 23 March 2018
Help me please, with ideas, comments, and pointers to interesting research. Email daveb at dslprime.com.
Gabriel Brown of Heavy Reading, a respected analyst, writes "Some of your 6G stuff (e.g. no-cell RAN, above 40GHz, shared spectrum, etc.) was supposed to be 5G. Whether that happens in practice, I’ll guess we’ll see in time. How and when the 5G to 6G threshold is crossed will be interesting." He's right, of course: None of what I'm calling "6G" is news to the best engineers in the industry, including many at 3GPP creating the 5G standard. It's always a tough call as to what is ready; there are also practical limits on complexity. Currently, 3GPP is using spectrum up to 54 GHz, although 60-77 GHz are actively being discussed. Sharing of unlicensed spectrum is central to Rel. 15; but there's an even bigger payoff in sharing some of the current monopoly spectrum.
Gerhard Fettweis, key researcher, "If we want to reach Tb/s data rates, a new 6G cellular will be needed."
- Published: 15 March 2018 15 March 2018
"6G" wireless is technology that is beyond "5G." Minister Wei Leping has already called for China to be the 6G leader, although no one quite knows what it is. Technologies moving from the lab to deployment should improve capacity by 5-15X over "5G." Three technologies will almost certainly be included, with more to come:
- "Cell-free" or "Distributed" Massive MIMO
- Dynamic use of different frequencies, especially unlicensed
- Frequencies up to 120 GHz.
- Published: 15 March 2018 15 March 2018
"I want 5G to be the best G ever," he told Light Reading's Iain Morris at Huawei's UBBF. Morris notes, " 6G may never happen, as McRae suggests. But that is by no means a certainty. And even if there is no 6G, networks will continue to change -- possibly beyond recognition."
Whether you call it 5G, 6G, or evolution, mobile progress will continue longer than I expect to live. (I'm old.) My 6G Report is about the technologies coming that weren't included in 3GPP Release 15, the current working definition of 5G.
The marketing terms mean very little: 5G two years ago was millimeter wave to most people. Some thought Massive MIMO performance also qualified. 3.5 was LTE. Then the lobbyists took over. Politicians were saying, "We must have 5G." To keep the pols content, the European telcos pressed to include 3.5 GHz, even though it was essentially the same speed as 4G. (Similar amounts of spectrum and number of antennas.)
Takeaway: 4G/5G/6G mean nothing without context. Underneath it all, tens of thousands of engineers are advancing wireless at a ferocious pace. If you need to know what's going on, follow the technology, not the name.
- Published: 10 August 2017 10 August 2017
A crucial 6G technology will be the sharing of almost all currently licensed spectrum. Watch the video below with Durga Malladi of Qualcomm if you have any doubts. Wi-Fi proved that spectrum sharing works, doubling or tripling effective capacity. LAA convincingly shows that commercial quality broadband can be delivered today over unlicensed spectrum. Verizon, AT&T and Qualcomm did the testing to confirm this. The same technology can be used to recover spectrum in licensed bands like 1800 & 2100,
60-80% of the spectrum now a licensed monopoly can be shared - if the regulator has the confidence to require it. ?20-40 Mhz would need to be reserved for control plane signaling and emergency use. The original telco might claim priority but the spectrum they aren't using can be shared. Rarely is more than 40-70% in use.
Especially in rural areas, massive amounts of licensed spectrum lie fallow. It would be enough, for example, to deliver a true gigabit of rural broadband.